Satellite made by USI students launched into space

Updated: Dec. 5, 2018 at 4:54 PM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

EVANSVILLE, IN (WFIE) - One small step for man, one giant leap for the University of Southern Indiana.

A group of five students is making big strides in outer space after launching a satellite on Wednesday.

Ryan Loehrlein is one of the students who helped build the satellite. He said, “The first thing you can see is this puff of smoke coming out from the bottom and then a ginormous flame coming out of the rocket and the rocket slowly started ascending going up.”

The group worked on the satellite for more than two years. The project, called UNITE CubeSat, is funded by NASA.

The satellite will reach the International Space Station and from there, an astronaut will remove it from a rocket and release it to space to collect data.

The satellite is no bigger than a loaf of bread but it will head to one of the least explored layers of the atmosphere to gather space weather measurements . The group had a VIP viewing spot to see their work sent to space.

Wyatt Helms also worked on that satellite. He added, “About seven or eight seconds after it rose -- you heard the first ignition that actually happened. It was really interesting watching it.”

Thermal sensors on the micro-satellite will detect temperatures of the atmosphere. The accomplishment is huge for these students who are the first students in Indiana to send a satellite to space.

“It will be about three months before the satellite is actually orbiting the earth but it is heading it’s way on a long ride all the way up to the international space station as we speak,” said Loehrlein.

Once the UNITE CubeSat reaches the space station astronauts will send it on its mission to collect plasma and temperature data.

The excitement of the day is something they say they’ll never forget.

Copyright 2018 WFIE. All rights reserved.